Daily News columnist Denis Hamill recently sat down with devil-horned Bruce Ratner, developer of Atlantic Yards, to ask him if he’s OK—does he need anything? A drink? A back massage? Maybe just an astoundingly fawning profile in a daily tabloid?
After a bunch of stupid idiots stood in Ratner’s way—creating for him a “nightmare,” poor thing—he’s finally getting to build his giant stadium. “Next year Brooklyn will have its first professional sports team since the Dodgers left in 1957,” Hamill writes. “The 18,500-seat Barclays Center will host more than 200 events, including big-name concerts, pro boxing promoted by Oscar de la Hoya, tennis, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus and Disney on Ice.”
Whoa, cool! Disney? The circus? Look out, Newark, New Jersey—Brooklyn could start encroaching on your reputation as Cultural Capital of the World! Maybe next we can has a Walmart?
The piece is not only stupid, it’s offensive. “[In 2008], I didn’t know if we’d all be on breadlines,” Ratner told Hamill. As if the legal battles “nightmare” wasn’t enough to cause Ratner to lose sleep, imagine as he fretted over where his next meal would come from.
Later, Hamill asks Ratner how he would feel if eminent domain claimed his home:
“That’s a good question,” Ratner says[.] “I wouldn’t be happy. On the other hand, you get paid fair market value. It’s not the same as being foreclosed on and losing your equity. Still it’s not the greatest thing. But we all move plenty of times in our lives.
Why shouldn’t it be because Ratner has profits to turn? And Disney ice shows to produce?
More seriously, though, the piece is also glaringly inaccurate, as though it emerged from Ratner’s deepest fantasies. Just about every sentence Hamill writes—literally, every sentence—contains a mistruth or a distortion about the pernicious project. Tireless anti-Atlantic Yards crusader Norman Oder goes through the piece paragraph-by-paragraph to reveal the fictions.